Is it a sacred religious holiday only for Christians (Hallelujah!)? Or is it a Hallmark Holiday made to part a fool and her money in a frenzy of consumerism (Bah, humbug!)?
Of course we know that Christmas is, literally, the mass for Jesus' birthday (Happy Birthday, Jesus! You don't look a day over 2000!) But the celebrations actually come from the Celtic Pagan MidWinter Solstice (the Pagans were happy to convert, but they did fight for their right to partay - so hey presto, ancient Christians re-named their feasting, bonfire-filled, Yule-tide 'Christmas' in order to save more souls!)
Then a European priest named Nikolaus, known for giving gifts to poor children, kicked the bucket and was promptly sainted - becoming St Niklaus, then Sinter Klaus, and later Santa Claus. The red suit is an invention of the Coca-Cola company, while the reindeer and flying sleigh are from a 19th century poem.
So we here in the Southern hemisphere are celebrating the Northern hemisphere's Winter Feast in the midst of Summer in honour of a religious figure historically thought to have been born in January or February, and anticipating the arrival of a European preist who somehow morphed into a magical flying elf thanks to soft drink. Yep.
But you know what? Peace, joy and happiness are themes we can all agree on - as are legally mandated days off work (or at least double pay.) So yeah, we could use Xmas as an excuse to be cynical, but why not use it as an excuse to celebrate the universal themes of spending time with loved ones, gift giving, and eating and drinking til you burst?
Take from the season the themes that resonate with you, and discard the rest. And hell, if that means re-imagining Santa as wearing board shorts and a mohawk and singing along to the Swinging Sidewalks' 'I'm dreaming of a HOT Christmas' - then more power to ya!
Merry Christmas, or Sexy XXXmas, or Happy Giftmas to all. May we all celebrate peace, love and joy in our wonderfully varied individual ways.
oh AND LOOK at festive cat photos....